this afternoon as i stood in our kitchen stirring the bubbly-frothy caramels, keeping an ever-watchful eye on the candy thermometer, i couldn’t help but think about my mom (she is the original christmas-caramel-maker), christmas traditions and this christmas “letter” (in the oh-so new and modern form of a blog post) that needed to be typed up. the sounds of christmas carols filled the kitchen, as well as the muffled rumblings of my older boys playing & wrestling & squealing upstairs and the whirs of the dryer running in the background. snowflakes are gently floating to the ground here and there and there is a tangible festive spirit in the air. deep breaths. familiar smells and memories and songs and sounds of laughter. great joy.
this past year has been filled with great joy. as a family, we were able to travel and to host many travelers (family, mostly). we were able to make two trips to california in the spring — one for a friend’s wedding and again for a family vacation. phil & i were enchanted by balboa island and the boys loved the beach and the santa barbara zoo. we traveled back to minnesota in may for my sister, liz’s, wedding to josh anderson, in which phil officiated and i was a bridesmaid (silas read a short story and lincoln was a ring bearer as well). this past summer, we spent time with friends around campfires during a few camping trips around colorado. in september, we pulled silas out of school for a week to travel with friends to gulf shores, alabama. the boys absolutely LOVED playing on the warm beach and in the beautiful water… it was hard to leave such a magical place! after christmas, we plan to drive out to illinois to spend time with phil’s parents and sister’s family as well.
SILAS turned eight at the very beginning of the year (he’ll turn nine one month from today!), and he celebrated with a big pokemon party. he had a great second semester in second grade, with a teacher and student teacher that we all adore. and the first semester of third grade has been more of the same. silas does very well in school and was evaluated this year as gifted by the gifted & talented coordinator for the district. he is really into science and math, animals (especially snow leopards) and video games, and is reading the last book in the harry potter series. he enjoys playing with his two closest friends, jack and wyatt. si played soccer this fall and has a ski pass this year — we are hoping that dad & si will get some quality time together on the mountain.
LINCOLN turned five this past october and he will start kindergarten next year — a prospect that he is very excited about. lincoln took swimming lessons this past summer and loved the social time! he also played soccer for the first time this fall and will try out a tumbling class (he loves somersaults and flips) in january. lincoln got to move up to the top bunk this year, which was very exciting for him! lincoln is working hard to prepare for school next year — he has learned his alphabet and the letters and recently decided to start adding and subtracting on his fingers at dinner time. lincoln loves to play with his big brother and little brother both. he also loves his friends from church — cain and jude and jack and hannah. he is an energetic social butterfly and an introvert at times. we are loving our time with him here at home before he goes off to school next fall.
TATE had a wonderful year. he turned two in march and is working hard to catch up to his big brothers. he moved out of a toddler bed onto the bottom bunk (all three boys share a bedroom, which is really fun and we hope will continue to promote brotherly bonding…), which has helped him to feel like one of the “big boys.” tate also started potty training this past summer — which was a lot earlier than the other two boys were ever interested in it. tate has come a long way with babysitters and our co-op “playgroup” that we are involved with on mondays. i’m sure it helps to have his big brother, lincoln, there too, but tate is usually excited to play with other kids and is okay with being babysat, which is a relief (if you’re a parent, you know what i mean!). tate is talking and communicating well and throws a fit if you tell him “no.” he loves books and singing songs. he sure is going to miss having lincoln here at home next year!
PHIL turned 33 this past year and is continuing his work with Summit County Youth and Breckenridge Christian Ministries (our church community). phil is the director of SCY (which involves a lot of fundraising, overseeing staff, communicating the vision and heart of SCY to parents & families, etc) and he also runs the grade school program with me on tuesday nights. this october, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary of moving to breckenridge to direct the SCY programs, and it’s hard to believe a decade has already gone by. phil also works for BCM to coordinate sunday mornings services, amongst several other things. phil tried to drum more often this year at home & at church and got a kick out of riding his “new” honda passport scooter around town. he has enjoyed meeting friends for a weekly lunch and growing closer to a handful of men. he is always reading and thinking and talking, so feel free to email him or call if you want to hear what he’s been thinking about lately. phil started posting the BCM sunday morning talks as podcasts at http://www.podomatic.com, so check it out if you’re interested. phil has a series coming up in january, so look for those podcasts for sure.
i (ANNE) have also had a joy-filled year. i turned 32 in march and shortly afterwards decided to start exercising. i have always wanted to be more active and fit, but i’ve never felt like it was a good time to start (being pregnant or having very young children for the past several years). this year finally felt like the right time to shift my focus slightly more towards me and creating a healthier lifestyle. i started with a couple workout dvds in the spring and when the snow started melting, i started walking & running. i set small goals for myself as the weeks and months went on, and i’m very proud to say that this november, i reached my goal of running three miles (one of which is uphill). i am blessed to have a place to run right out my back door and a local rec center when it’s just too cold outside to bear. it has been a gift to watch the way my body and my eating habits (you just don’t feel like eating crap after all that hard work!!) have transformed — i have lost over 25 pounds and i feel healthier and proud of myself. i feel like i have grown more into “me” and who i am meant to be. running has been a great time to have some quiet and to pray. i continue to juggle three part-time jobs and volunteering weekly in silas’ classroom. this year, i’ve been grateful for my husband who has made sacrifices to allow me the time to run, for a handful of close friends and for our community…
we are wishing each of you a wonderfully magical christmas season. may you & your families repeat the sounding joy.